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Georgia Department of Revenue Towards a Better Understanding of Property Taxes Vicki Lambert September 11, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Georgia Department of Revenue Towards a Better Understanding of Property Taxes Vicki Lambert September 11, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Georgia Department of Revenue Towards a Better Understanding of Property Taxes Vicki Lambert September 11, 2008

2 Georgia Department of Revenue The Georgia Property Tax 101 The Property Tax Piece

3 Georgia Department of Revenue 2007 Ad Valorem Taxes Levied in Georgia Counties and Cities

4 Georgia Department of Revenue 2007 Ad Valorem Taxes Levied in Georgia Counties and Cities

5 Georgia Department of Revenue 5-Year Comparison of Property Tax Revenue

6 Georgia Department of Revenue Property Tax Revenue by Type of Property

7 Georgia Department of Revenue Property Tax  Based on the principal that the amount of tax paid should depend on the value of the property owned  Property includes personal homes, commercial and industrial building, farms, land, motor vehicles, boats, airplanes, and business personal property such as furniture, fixtures, equipment and inventory  Property tax is an ad valorem tax  “according to value”  taxes are apportioned among taxpayers according to the value of their property  amount of tax bill is based on the fair market value of the property

8 Georgia Department of Revenue Who is involved in the process? Tax Digest Tax Commissioner Tax Assessors County Governing Authority County School Board

9 Georgia Department of Revenue

10 ROLE OF THE TAX ASSESSORS Tax Digest Assessment Valuation Discovery

11 Georgia Department of Revenue Role of the Tax Assessor Locate & identify all taxable property (discovery) Make an inventory of all taxable property, including quantify, quality & important characteristics Classify each property & determine the extent of taxability Estimate the market value of each taxable property (valuation) Calculate the taxable value of each property (assessment ratio) Prepare & certify the assessment roll of the jurisdiction (listing) Notify owners of the taxable value of their properties Defending value estimates & valuation methods during appeals

12 Georgia Department of Revenue What is the taxable value of property?  Board of Assessors determine fair market value of taxable real and personal property  Fair Market Value as defined by Georgia law is the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arm’s length, bona fide sale.  Cash price a property would bring in an competitive and open market

13 Georgia Department of Revenue Getting Ready for Tax Bills Summary of values given to all taxing authorities by county tax commissioner Budgets set & millage rates established Advertising prepared and published in newspaper of general circulation –5-year history with date and time of meeting to set millage rate –Notice of Property Tax Increase Hearings

14 Georgia Department of Revenue Inform the Taxpayers Publish a 5-Year History which includes the following: (O.C.G.A. 48-5-32 ) Assessed value of all property Millage rate proposed for current year and rate levied for previous years Total tax for current & previous years $ amount of increase/decrease & % of increase/decrease When & where the meeting will be held to adopt the millage rate (date, time & place)

15 Georgia Department of Revenue Taxpayer Bill of Rights “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” was passed in 1999 to prevent a “Back Door” tax increase Changes in real property values on the digest are due to one of the following factors: Values increased due to adding new construction, new parcels, etc. Values are increased due to inflation (Revaluations) Properties experiencing inflationary increases or reassessment do not require additional services but if the millage rate isn’t decreased to offset this growth the result is a “Back Door” tax increase.

16 Georgia Department of Revenue Advertising when Millage Rate exceeds Rollback Rate –Issue press release announcing a tax increase –Advertise and hold 3 public hearings One may coincide with budget hearing One may coincide with meeting to set final millage rate that was advertised in the 5-Year history advertisement; and One must start between 6 PM and 7 PM 2 must be held at least 5 business days apart If 2 are held on one day the 1st must be before noon and second begin between 6 PM and 7 PM

17 Georgia Department of Revenue Example of Newspaper Ad ‘NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE’ Smith County has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 22.51 percent. All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax increase to be held at County Courthouse, 411 Smith Street, Smithville, Georgia on June 8, 2008 at 11:30 AM and 6:00 PM.

18 Georgia Department of Revenue Graphic Timeline Publish Ad for 1 st & 2 nd Hearings & 5 Yr History Publish Ad for 3 rd Hearing & Hold Hearings 1 & 2 Hold 3rd Hearing & Set Millage Rate 7 Days

19 Georgia Department of Revenue Determining Millage Rates Revenue from sources other than the property tax Budgeted revenue to be raised by property tax Local Government Operating Expenses - = Total assessed value of all taxable property Millage Rate ÷ = $1,405,350$8,745,600$10,150,950 - = 924,775,247 0.009457 or 9.457 mills ÷ =

20 Georgia Department of Revenue Calculation of Tax Bill for Taxpayer A for Commercial Building and Lot Assessment Level (40%) Assessed Value Fair Market Value x = Millage Rate Amount of’ Property Taxes x = 40% $1,462,200 $3,655,500 x = 9.457 mills (0.009457) $13,828.03 x =

21 Georgia Department of Revenue Calculation of Tax Bill for Homeowner with Homestead Exemption Step 1: Determine Fair Market Value Step 2: Multiply FMV x assessment level (40%) Step 3: Subtract amount of Homestead Exemption for taxing jurisdiction Step 4: Multiply millage rate for taxing jurisdiction by value from Step 3 (Net Assessed Value) Step 5: Repeat Steps 1 – 4 for each tax type

22 Georgia Department of Revenue Walking through calculation of a tax bill Fair Market Value = $200,000 40% Assessment = $ 80,000 State: 80,000 – 2,000 = 78,000 x.25 mills = 19.50 County: 80,000 – 2,000 = 78,000 x 10.00 mills = 780.00 School: 80,000 – 2,000 = 78,000 x 18.50 mills = 1,443.00 Total Tax Bill = $2,242.50

23 Georgia Department of Revenue County Tax Bill

24 Georgia Department of Revenue Statewide Homestead Exemptions State Homestead Exemption for county, state & school = $2,000 (1937) School Exemption for Elderly = $10,000 –Subject to age and income qualifications County Exemption for Elderly = $4,000 –Subject to age and income qualifications Exemption from state tax for home and up to 10 acres –Homeowner must be 65 years of age or older Disabled veterans and surviving spouse of war veteran killed in action = $50,000 Surviving spouse of firefighter or peace officer killed in action = total exemption Floating exemption = the amount of reassessment of property after base year

25 Georgia Department of Revenue Local Homestead Exemptions ExemptionCountySchoolStateAdditional Qualifications Regular5,000 2,000 City of Cartersville5,00028,0002,00065 years of age Bartow County Elderly5,00040,0002,00065 years of age Disability5,00028,0002,000100% disabled -- household income <20,000 School Tax Elderly5,00010,0002,00062 years of age - household income <10,000

26 Georgia Department of Revenue Local Homestead Exemptions Exemption Type Count ySchoolStateAdditional Qualifications School Exemption6,000All2,00062 years of age Disability6,0002000+half2,000 Disabled w/ documentation

27 Georgia Department of Revenue Homestead Valuation Freeze Exemption A county exemption that increases only on personal home as your property is revalued by the Board of Assessors due to the market value. The exemption may apply to only one portion of your tax bill (county and/or school) Exemption will increase offset the revaluation amount after ‘base year’ Many refer to this exemption as a "tax freeze." Any improvements to your property generally do not fall under the “tax freeze.” Local legislation may allow for an CPI or other inflationary increase to base value annually

28 Georgia Department of Revenue Value Exemption Net Taxable Value Base Year Value of 2004$90,0000 Property reassessed in 2005$110,000$20,000$90,000 Property Value in 2006$110,000$20,000$90,000 Property reassessed in 2007$126,300$36,300$90,000

29 Georgia Department of Revenue Other Exemptions or Preferential Assessments Freeport Exemption Preferential Agricultural Assessment Conservation Use Assessment –Residential Transitional –Environmentally Sensitive Brownfield Rehabilitated or Landmark Historic

30 Georgia Department of Revenue Homeowner’s Tax Relief Grant Provides homeowners with property tax relief for state, county, school, special district and city property taxes The credit is equivalent to an additional $8,000 homestead exemption

31 Georgia Department of Revenue Eligibility Requirements Homeowners that qualify for homestead exemption are eligible to receive the homeowner tax relief credit for all tax purposes The credit cannot exceed the amount of the taxpayer’s tax liability

32 Georgia Department of Revenue How the Credit is Calculated To figure the credit amount, each homeowner’s eligible assessed value (for 2008, the eligible assessed value is $8,000) is multiplied by the millage rate for maintenance and operation purposes levied in each taxing jurisdiction

33 Georgia Department of Revenue Example of a Calculation of Credit Eligible Assessed Value * Millage Rate = Credit State 8,000 x.25 mills = $ 2.00 County8,000 x 10.00 mills = $ 80.00 School 8,000 x 18.50 mills = $148.00 Total Homeowner’s Tax Relief Credit = $230.00

34 Georgia Department of Revenue How the Credit is Shown on the Tax Bill The total credit amount is deducted directly from a homeowner’s property tax bill; Along with the credit amount, the law requires the following statement be printed on the tax bill: "This reduction in your bill is the result of homeowner's tax relief enacted by the Governor and the General Assembly of the State of Georgia."

35 Georgia Department of Revenue Process for Reimbursement to Local Governments Immediately after the tax bills are issued, the fiscal authority will submit a certification to DOR showing the total amount of homeowner tax relief credit provided to taxpayers; This certification, once received by DOR, is cursory reviewed for accuracy and compared to the homestead information submitted with the digest; DOR pays the total certified grant amount within 60 days Once the grant check is cut, it is sent to the fiscal authority

36 Georgia Department of Revenue HTRG Applied to Tax Bill Fair Market Value = $200,000 40% Assessment = $ 80,000 ------------------------------------------------------------------ State: 80,000 – 2,000 = 78,000 x.25 mills = 19.50 County: 80,000 – 2,000 = 78,000 x 10.00 mills = 780.00 School: 80,000 – 2,000 = 78,000 x 18.50 mills = 1,443.00 Tax Due before HTRG = $2,242.50 Credit for HTRG = 230.00 TAXES DUE = $2,012.50

37 Georgia Department of Revenue Definitions Ad valorem – according to value Ad valorem tax – a tax levied in proportion to the value of the property being taxed Appraisal – estimate of value Appraisal Date – in Georgia this date is January 1 of each tax year Assessed Value – The monetary amount at which a property is put on the digest Assessment roll – lists for all taxable properties the name of the owner, the assessed value, exemptions, etc. Assessor – Appointed by county governing authority to serve as administrative head over assessment functions including valuation, approval and denial of exemptions Base year – value set at a point in time used to calculate the amount of homestead exemption to offset inflationary increases to value Effective Tax Rate – the tax rate expressed as a percentage of market value Equalization – Process which attempts to ensure that property is appraised equitably at market value or as otherwise required by law Governing authority – county board of commissioners or city council (elected officials) Homestead Exemption – a release from a portion of assessment or property tax on taxpayer’s residence

38 Georgia Department of Revenue Definitions Market Value – the highest price in terms of money that a property will bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale with the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeable, assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus (fair market value) Mass appraisal – The process of valuing a group of properties as of a given date, using standard methods, and allowing for statistical testing to achieve uniformity and equalization Mill or millage – Term used to express property tax rate. One mill is one-thousandth of one dollar or one-tenth of one cent. Millage is often expressed as whole numbers in Georgia, such as 6 mills which means that the tax bill on an assessment of $100,000 = 6 mills/thousand or $600.00. Tax commissioner – elected constitutional officer with responsibility to collect and disburse ad valorem taxes to taxing jurisdictions, designated as tag agents of the commissioner for the purpose of collecting ad valorem taxes in connection with the registration of motor vehicles receive returns, collect delinquent taxes and numerous other duties Tax levy – In property taxes the total revenue that is to be realized by the tax Tax Digest (roll) – The official list of each taxpayer subject to property taxes together with the assessment and the amount of taxes due Uniformity – Assessed values that have the same relationship to market value as do all other assessments within the tax district. It implies equalization of the tax burden.

39 Georgia Department of Revenue Questions?

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